How to Lead A Full Life With Psoriasis
Living with psoriasis can be tough. If you are one of the many millions who has this complex skin condition, you will already know how frustrating and challenging it can be to cope with the symptoms.
The good news is that there are ways to make life with psoriasis easier.
Psoriasis is an unpredictable condition that can suddenly flare up with little warning. When it does, your skin can feel itchy, tight and painful and may even bleed if you can’t avoid scratching it.
This can be enormously stressful, even if you have been living with the complaint for years. The added complication is, stress can trigger or worsen psoriasis so it is natural to feel like you are trapped in a vicious cycle.
That is why it is crucial to make stress relief a part of your everyday routine. This can include:
Exercise – this diffuses mental and emotional pressure. As it boosts your mood, exercise also lowers inflammation and helps to keep your weight in check, which can ease symptoms. It can be anything – walking, gardening, cycling, yoga – any movement you enjoy.
Deep breathing and meditation can still and quieten the mind. You may find it difficult to switch off at first, but regular practice will yield multiple benefits.
Spending time on something you enjoy – even if it is just chatting with a friend. It can tame tension and raise levels of endorphins, which are feel-good brain chemicals.
Do not be defined by your psoriasis. You are so much more than how your skin may look or feel. Psoriasis is just one aspect of who you are.
If you are having a low-mood day or your psoriasis is flaring up, do not push yourself too hard. Pace yourself and do not let the disease take over your thoughts.
If you cannot seem to shake off your low mood, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) - a form of talking therapy that can help manage problems by changing the way you think and behave - could be helpful. Your doctor should be able to recommend a therapist.
Enjoying the great outdoors
Aim for 10 minutes of sunshine daily, even in the winter months. UV light prompts vitamin D production, reducing inflammation. It’s also a great mood enhancer. Remember to apply sunscreen.
During particularly nasty flare-ups, your body can feel like your enemy. Take time out to nurture yourself. Small changes to your grooming routine for example can make a big difference:
Moisturise – even when it feels like your skin doesn’t need it or you are pushed for time. Enjoy the process, rather than viewing it as a chore. Choose an ointment, oil, or thick cream. These types of moisturisers do a better job of getting through your skin barrier. Light lotions have more water and may dry out your skin even more. Take your time and let the moisturiser sink into your skin before dressing.
Shave wet. Use a shaving cream or lotion made for sensitive skin and buy a good razor that follows the contours of your face or body. Shaving wet instead of using an electric razor on dry skin is gentler on irritated patches. You may find that skipping a day between shaves is easier on your skin too.
If your psoriasis flares up, it helps to prioritise what needs to get done and what can be pushed aside. Tackle the most important things first. That way, if you run out of energy later in the day, less-urgent items on your to-do list can wait.
Leaning on loved ones
If you are feeling low, touching another person or talking about your psoriasis may be the last thing on your mind. However, research shows that people with psoriasis who get social support feel better day to day and are less likely to have depression. Let your friends and family know how psoriasis is affecting you emotionally.
In the workplace
Psoriasis can pose many challenges in the workplace. Be open with colleagues. They will be far more understanding. There are things you can do to better manage your psoriasis in the working environment. You may find it easier to work standing up rather than at a desk for example. Or perhaps you need assistance moving equipment. Let other people know. You can still be a productive team player and an asset to any organisation with psoriasis
Talk to your doctor
If you are struggling with your condition and not satisfied with your current treatment plan, check in with your dermatologist. There are many new medications available that can treat psoriasis effectively. You and your doctor can choose the one that is right for you.
Great progress is being made in research accompanied by advances in the care and treatment of psoriasis.
The launch of the Global Psoriasis Atlas means that, for the first time, experts and those living with psoriasis, are gaining a greater understanding of the number of people with the disease around the world and their access to care and treatment.
The interactive web platform will help construct a global picture of psoriasis and pave the way for people with psoriasis to lead a fulfilling life.